March 22, 2013 - 09:38 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The UN human rights council has set up an inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea for the first time, according to BBC News.
The council unanimously voted for the probe, which will examine allegations of prison camps, slave labor and food deprivation in the country.
North Korea denounced the resolution as a political ploy.
It is highly unlikely the team will be granted access to North Korea, so they will have to rely on satellite imagery and accounts from defectors.
North Korea's human rights record will now be under intense scrutiny, and evidence gathered by the team could be used in future prosecutions for crimes against humanity.
UN special rapporteur Marzuki Darusman, who presented the initial report on North Korea and will be a member of the inquiry, said that a key focus should be the country's prison camps.
"The prison camps could qualify as crimes against humanity," he said. "These are camps which have the purpose of driving the people being detained there towards a slow death."
His report also described "widespread and systematic violations of human rights" including enforced disappearances and using food to control people.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the UN had evidence indicating that North Korea's political prisons held around 200,000 people, with many subjected to rape, torture and slave labor.
The resolution, which was presented by Japan and the European Union, was approved by all 47 members of the council.